Let me tell you how my heart broke.
I had just picked up my girls from daycare. My 1 year old was happily babbling in her seat, but my 3 year old was just staring out the car window with her tiny chin perched in her little hand. Usually, she was talkative. The silence worried me.
“How was your day, Bean?” I asked her.
She faced her big blue eyes forward and sadly told me “Jane and Emma told me I couldn’t play with them because they are not my best friends anymore.”
Jane and Emma are her best friends. The only two she plays with, talks about and trusts while I’m at work. My chest hurt.
She’s 3. How was this happening already?!?
How do I fix it?
I tried to explain that it’s not nice to say something like that. I tried to give her hope that her friends probably didn’t mean what they said. And I tried to encourage her to maybe find someone else to play with. But during my pep talk, I could tell, she still didn’t understand.
Honestly, I can’t remember if it was an “ah ha” moment or hours of worrying that lead to my idea – the foundation – for Lionheart Lamb. But I realized the way to get through to her was with imagination. Toddlers love playing dress up, right? They love pretending to have superpowers. And best of all at this age, they believe.
Why not start a business?
“What do you think?” I asked my husband while we walked our two little girls in a wagon down the street?
I had just pitched him an idea to start a line of toddler clothing that aimed to empower little ones, including art inspired by women throughout history.
“Go for it,” he told me. He didn’t flinch.
I could tell he knew there was no stopping me. This was not just a brand. This was a way, even if it’s a small way, for women like me to start conversations with their daughters, to preach love and kindness, and dress them up in quality clothing.
That’s the concept behind our Kindness Dress, Friendship Dress and Brave Dress. Each one comes with a tag that encourages our little ones to unleash their superpowers to say nice words, to try something new and to include everyone in play.
I tried this with my daughter and her teacher told me she started to reach out to other kids in class, making more friends and she would tell me if someone at school said mean words or nice ones. When she started her day in her “brave” attire, I saw her break through her fear of putting her head underwater at swimming lessons. She knew she had the power to do it deep inside.
I hired an all female manufacturing team and seamstresses with decades of experience. My mom created all the art on our Brave Dress and t-shirts. And I found women locally and throughout the country to produce the tags and small details.
“Empowered women, empower women”, right?
Validation I’m not crazy
So for a year, we talked about the power within her to walk up to another child and make a friend. We talked about being brave and doing something even if you’re scared. And always speak kindly and do nice things for friends. As you know, I used her favorite clothing as a method to hammer home the message.
Was I crazy?? As you read this, are you thinking I’m sprinkling a lot of fairy dust on my experience and idea?
Friday night, my daughter had her Pre-K 1 graduation. They had all the pomp and circumstance of a college graduation, but the gowns were smaller and the degrees won’t hold up at an executive interview.
BUT they did have awards.
When it was my daughter’s turn to get her award and diploma, the teachers announced she won the “Caring Classmate” award.
“Scarlett is kind and gentle and always wants everyone to get along,” the administrator said as they stood on stage, “She truly has a caring heart of gold.”
My heart skipped! This is the message I hoped would get through.
If we start our children out with kindness at this level, maybe by the time they are dressed in cap and gown, walking to get their high school diploma, bullying won’t be such a huge problem in our communities.
I like to think that these are the little things that will stick with them as they grow into adulthood. And I hope these building blocks naturally propel them to support one another as they break glass ceilings, discover medical breakthroughs and form a more peaceful tribe.
Wait…I am crazy
If you know me, you know I anchor the morning news – which means I’m at work by 2:30 am.
The first batch of clothing was already under production on the day I officially announced the business at a pitch competition. This day happened to be the same day I found out I was pregnant with my 3rd child.
Is this bad timing to start a business???
Is there ever a good time?
So, personally? Yes, life is crazy. But I’m beyond excited to try this new venture. I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback!
Click here to see the brand: www.lionheartlamb.com